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Positively Safe: Addressing the Intersection of Domestic Violence & HIV/AIDS

National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) Training for Domestic Violence & HIV/AIDS Service Providers

Developed in 2010, the Positively Safe project addresses the intersection of HIV/AIDS and domestic violence. Together with the National Domestic Violence & HIV/AIDS Advisory Committee, NNEDV developed a curriculum to train service providers in both fields. The curriculum has a large focus on building partnerships to address the intersection and prevent HIV and domestic violence.

NNEDV’s Positively Safe project, in partnership with the Gilead Foundation, proposes to systematically address the unique challenges and barriers facing victims and survivors of domestic violence living with HIV/AIDS by:

  • Partnering and collaborating with national, state and local HIV/AIDS and domestic violence organizations to explore the intersection of domestic violence and HIV/AIDS;
  • Providing technical assistance and training opportunities to both domestic violence and HIV/AIDS service providers to share best practices, lessons learned, and model programs that address HIV/AIDS and domestic violence; and
  • Developing and disseminating critical resources to both fields on the co-occurrence of HIV/AIDS and domestic violence, including strategies to best address challenges and barriers when both are present in the lives of individuals.

Since its inception, NNEDV has trained 27 of the 56 state and territorial coalitions on the intersection at two national trainings-of-trainers. NNEDV and the Advisory Committee have also had the privilege of presenting our work at a number of international, national, and state conferences.

If you’re interested in receiving training on the intersection of domestic violence and HIV, please email us.

NNEDV’s Partnerships

In 2013, NNEDV was able to present our curriculum to the President’s Working Group on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence against Women and Girls, and Gender-Related Health Disparities. Because of NNEDVs ongoing commitment to these issues, we were funded to provide trainings to select groups on the intersection.

In 2018, NNEDV received funding from Gilead Sciences to expand the project and reach more advocates across the United States. Under this funding NNEDV has provided dozens of in-person and virtual trainings, developed resources and outreach materials, and launched the Expanding the Continuum podcast.

The project has continued to grow and evolve. In 2022, NNEDV received a second grant from Gilead Sciences to work with the Rwanda Women’s Network. This project seeks to create a new training curriculum for use in Rwanda utilizing the resources NNEDV has already created, with the goal of broadening the global conversation on gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS. NNEDV also seeks to learn innovative practices that may be scalable in the United States.

ViiV Pharmaceuticals also provided Positively Safe a three-year grant in 2023 to focus on the impact of domestic violence and HIV/AIDS among Black women. The grant allows the team to host listening sessions with Black women living with HIV/AIDS who have experienced domestic violence, as well as with advocates from both the domestic violence and HIV/AIDS fields. These listening sessions will inform current and future content for the project.

The Positively Safe team is proud to do this work alongside many partner organizations:

NNEDV’s Resources

NNEDV developed a toolkit that can be used by the domestic violence field, the HIV/AIDS field, social workers, survivors, medical practitioners, and others. Tools in the kit include: Screening for Domestic Violence, Screening for HIV/AIDS, fact sheets, Building a Successful Partnership, Confidentiality Considerations, and much more. See the full toolkit for all of the tools!

As a result of the pandemic in 2020, Positively Safe was exploring new and accessible ways to deliver information to advocates across the country. With Futures Without Violence, the team launched the Expanding the Continuum podcast, focusing on the intersection of patriarchal violence and HIV/AIDS. Episodes have focused on health equity, PrEP for survivors, HIV criminalization, housing, harm reduction, and more. The podcast can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and SoundCloud.

What You Should Know about HIV/AIDS and Domestic Violence

  • Evidence suggests that sexual and other forms of abuse against women and girls – whether at the hands of intimate partners or strangers – increases their chances of acquiring HIV.
  • One quarter to one half of abused women have experienced forced sex.
  • Women who were beaten or dominated by their partners were more likely to acquire HIV than women in non-violent relationships. These women who were beaten by their boyfriends or husbands were 48% more likely to acquire HIV.
  • 24% of the female patients in one study experienced physical abuse after disclosing their HIV status and 45% feared such a reaction.
  • Women who have a history of both sexual and physical abuse by intimate partners are 2.7 times more likely to worry about acquiring HIV.